Launched in the UK in June 2017, Yolt now has over 1.5 million registered users. Yolt is a smart budgeting app that allows people to track their spending effortlessly, leveraging technology to automatically sync transactions from banks and credit card providers.
Their aim is to help people reach their financial goals by making money management as easy as possible and actively encourage you to save with features like Money Jar and Boost It that we’ll review in more detail shortly.
How Does Yolt Work?
Yolt is a budgeting app that uses open banking to securely connect to financial third parties with read-only access. It uses this access to then download your latest transactions from multiple places with the click of a button to avoid you having to manually go into each bank account and credit card provider, download your transactions and upload them to Yolt.
Is Yolt a Safe App to Use?
Yes Yolt is a safe app as utilises open banking which only grants read-only access to a limited amount of information. This means your login details are not shared with third parties in order to collect your recent transactions.
The old method of obtaining this information was through a process called screen-scraping which required you to share your login details. This posed quite a risk of fraud and now this process is no longer allowed.
Yolt is also authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) due to being part of Dutch Bank ING. This ensures that it meets the required standards for data security and risk management.
How to Set Up A Yolt Account
To set up a Yolt account you need to download the app to your smartphone and create an account. You’ll be asked for your name, email address and phone number then you’ll need to confirm your identity by taking a selfie and submitting an official form of identification, such as a driving license or passport.
Once submitted, the Yolt verification process will take anywhere from 5 minutes to 24 hours.
After this has been completed, you’ll then be granted access to your account where you can start connecting your bank accounts and credit card providers to load your transactions. You’ll also be able to request a pre-paid debit card connected to your Yolt account.
- Open banking transaction syncing – consolidate all your transactions across multiple different providers automatically
- Track spending – see all transactions in one place
- Spending categories – categorise these transactions to understand your spending habits and where to focus
- Set budgets – budget by category and overall to align to your financial goals on savings and spending targets
- Set savings goals – if you’re saving up for a specific purpose or just saving for the future, add it as a goal so you know your progress to keep you motivated
- Total balance – easily see the total balance of all your accounts connected to Yolt in one place
- Instant spending notifications – automatic notifications when you spend on your Yolt card
- The Money Jar – a space within the app where your savings are stored
- Round up spending – round up any payments to the nearest pound and add it to the Money Jar, useful for easy saving
- Saving streak – start a savings challenge within Money Jar to help motivate you to keep saving
- Payday saver – a handy prompt each payday to encourage you to save
- Personalised tips – handy tips to help you reach your goals, such as saving on payday and reminders when you’re close to hitting budgets
- Subscription tracker – monitor your regular payments & Yolt also predicts future payments based on recurring transactions, helping to identify places to save
- Stealth mode – this allows you to show your family how the app works by changing key details, like your name and the values. Perfect is you want to help get your friends and family into budgeting
- Cash back rewards – earn cash back with your spending on certain retailers through offers in the app
- Yolt Pay – transfer money between friends, split bills and view your payees all in one place (feature still in beta)
Most Useful Features
The most useful feature for the vast majority of people is the open banking transaction syncing ability. Now you no longer have to long into each of your accounts individually to see how much you’ve spent, downloading and collating all the data to see an overall picture. This is the main reason why a lot of people don’t like budgeting, as it’s a painful and boring task.
For those that have had budgeting apps before and transaction syncing is old news, then the personalised tips and stealth mode are probably the best features in my opinion. The personalised tips bring together a number of the key features within the app, such as budgets, savings goals and subscription forecasting, helping you stay on track.
The Yolt Card – Should You Get It?
Yolt has introduced a pre-paid debit card to allow users to spend money directly through Yolt to help with more effective tracking of spend and a few other benefits like splitting the bill with friends.
You can request this pre-paid Mastercard within the app which should arrive within 7 working days. You’re able to top-up the card with up to £20,000 via bank transfer or £250 with a debit card and if your card is lost or stolen you can freeze the card easily within the app to stop any7one being able to use it.
The question is, should you get it?
Whilst the Yolt card does helps to link together a number of useful features, I don’t think it’s worth getting and I won’t be requesting one within the app. The main reason being that as it’s a debit card, you lose all the benefits of spending through a credit card. This includes enhanced consumer protection on purchases, the ability to earn points or cashback with regular spending, credit score improvements and much more.
Now with open banking, syncing your credit card transactions is effortless and with TopCashBack usually offering more enticing cash back rewards, I think it’ll take quite a change to convince me to get the card.
Yolt Card Fees
Getting the Yolt card is completely free and you can request it easily through the app.
There are a few charges to be aware of, including:
- £0.95 charge per ATM withdrawal
- 0.5% conversion fee on foreign transactions
- £5.50 for a replacement card if you request more than 1 every 12 months
So if you ever need cash, just use a regular debit card. Also if you’re planning to spend money abroad, definitely have a look at other credit cards that specialise in foreign transaction, such as the Santander Zero credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees.
Is Your Money Safe with Yolt?
Yes, your money in your Yolt account is safe as it is held by a third party provider PrePay Solutions (PPS) in a safe-guarded and ring-fenced Barclays bank account. PPS is a registered e-money provider that is licensed and regulated by the FCA in the UK. If PPS becomes insolvent or goes into liquidation, your money is still safe.
Which banks and accounts does Yolt support?
- American Express
- Allied Irish Bank
- Bank of Ireland
- Bank of Scotland
- Capital One
- Clydesdale Bank
- Danske Bank
- First Direct
- First Trust
- MBNA Credit Card
- Marks & Spencer
- Royal Bank of Scotland
- Starling Bank
- Sainsbury’s Bank
- Tesco Bank
- Ulster Bank
- Virgin Money
- Yorkshire Bank
Yolt Customer Reviews
Yolt currently has a rating of 3.8 out of 5 on Trustpilot with 81% of the review being either great or excellent. Looking through the poor and bad reviews, a lot of these seem to relate to issues around account verification and problems getting the debit card.
This is most likely stemming from people not submitting the correct documents, and as we’ve already discussed above about not really needing the debit card, these issues don’t seem like major problems.
There are a number of other personal budgeting apps available that you should also consider when choosing how to manage your money most effectively.
Yolt vs Emma
Emma is also an excellent budgeting app that offers similar features to Yolt. The free version is very similar to the Yolt app, although some people think Emma is more intuitive, I think it’s broadly the same.
The Emma app is probably more useful to those that want a bit more flexibility, to analyse spending in more granularity and add more accounts. Emma also has a pro version that costs 4.99 a month (or £29.99 for a year) that offers some excellent additional features for those wanting to reach that next level of money management.
Yolt vs Money Dashboard
Money Dashboard has been voted the best personal finance app in 2017-2020 and for good reason. They offer a both a web and an app version of their platform and whilst the app is very similar to Yolt, the web version allows people to use their main computer to manage their finances which some people prefer.
Overall, Yolt is a fantastic budgeting app that takes all the hard work out of budgeting and does this for free. They offer features to help guide and motivate you to hit your goals such as allowing you to set budgets and savings targets and offer useful personalised tips. This is definitely an app that you should consider to help manage your money.
If you want to download the app and get started, go to the Yolt website here.